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Celebrity Trainer Warns AI-Fitness Apps May Increase Risk of Injury

A woman in pain overlays several different apps
Source: Canva

If you use an app to help you hit your fitness goals, you might want to stop. Personal trainer Dalton Wong, celebrity specialist and workout enthusiast, has gone on record with the Daily Mail to tout the risks associated with app use in one’s fitness journey. Here’s what you need to know about fitness app risks, and how you can stay safe as you continue your fitness journey.

When you download a fitness app, you’re likely not thinking about all of the ways that you could be injured as a result. While the interface itself isn’t inherently dangerous, the standards that the app promotes could be – according to Dalton Wong.

The personal trainer spoke to the Daily Mail, indicating that the standards that we so often see on fitness apps (think Apple Watch rings), aren’t rooted in anything of clinical importance. So, the progress you’re tracking may not be correct for your current individual needs. You might also go “too far” at once on your journey, causing unnecessary wear and tear that could lead to lasting effects.

What do exercise apps have to offer, then?
While there are some drawbacks, other industry voices believe that they have some good to offer, as well. Top-ranking apps are generally comprehensive; allowing users to track metrics, macros, and progress in just a few simple taps. Additionally, many apps come with motion tracking and native feedback options to help you hit your best form yet during a workout.

The last benefit, predictive analytics, may also be a con if it is abused. This technology uses your previous results to forecast your future fitness steps, referencing your previous data as a yardstick of sorts for your current baseline of fitness.

Coins, ranks, and leaderboards — Here’s where the risk comes in
According to Wong, the risk lies primarily in all of the incentives in-app to get to a certain “state,” which isn’t the best choice for your body in many cases. Several apps offer coins, ranks, and leaderboards to incentivize them forward, which could be called into moral question — as many apps come equipped with moneymaking ads that offer more of a payout for ongoing app use.

How to win these prizes, you ask? Allowing the app to collect your data and track your vitals — like your caloric burn, blood oxygen, and heart rate. Critics of these apps note that this gamification of fitness is baseless at best and risky at worst.

The Daily Mail cites Wong’s interview with other outlets, noting that they may feel pressured to “keep moving through it [the hard feelings and symptoms of over-excercise]” This can lead to fainting, blood circulation issues, and muscular strain that could have been avoided with proper training and support.

The solution? Seeking personalized support where possible. Many gyms offer 1:1 training and support, or you could seek a third-party solution.


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